LOS ANGELES (CNS) - President Donald Trump will make a rare visit to the Los Angeles area today as he raises money for his re-election bid, and he suggested again he may take a more active role in combating the homelessness problem in the Southland and around the state.
“We can't let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what's happening,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to the Bay Area, where he landed around 11 a.m.
“... We have people living in our ... best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings ... where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige. In many cases they (building tenants) came from other countries and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building. And they want to leave.
“And the people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up,” he said. “And we're looking at it, and we'll be doing something about it.”
Last week, Trump sent a delegation of administration officials to the Los Angeles area to examine the local response to the homelessness crisis, something Trump has criticized as being the result of liberal political policies, particularly in so-called sanctuary cities. On Tuesday, he told reporters he was looking “very seriously” at creating some type of “individual task force” to address the homelessness issue.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said last week he took the group on a tour of the city's Unified Homelessness Response Center, a pair of homeless shelters and the Jordan Downs public housing complex. Garcetti sent a letter to Trump following the delegation's visit, saying he welcomes assistance from the federal government, but saying politics need to be set aside. He reiterated that sentiment Tuesday morning, issuing a video statement online.
“It's no secret that I've disagreed with you on almost everything, Mr. President,” Garcetti said. “But if you are in your heart willing to save lives alongside us, we know what works here.”
Garcetti said billions of federal dollars that could have created 47,000 permanent supportive units in Los Angeles were cut in the last couple years. Speaking from a recently opened Bridge Housing facility in South Los Angeles, Garcetti said he wanted to talk to Trump and show him what is being done locally to combat the problem.
“... I wanted to talk to (Trump) a little bit as if he had come down here to South L.A. to understand and to hear the challenges we face and ways that Washington, D.C., instead of demonizing us, might be able to come and help us,” Garcetti said
Trump is expected to arrive in Los Angeles mid-afternoon Tuesday. He is not expected to make any public appearances during his third visit to Los Angeles County as president. He is scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion with supporters and speak at a dinner fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of real estate developer Geoffrey Palmer, a major Trump and Republican Party donor.
Tickets range in cost from $1,000 for individuals to $100,000 for couples who want to attend a VIP reception, roundtable discussion with the president and a photo opportunity, according to CNBC.
A Republican official told reporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Trump began the day, that the event will raise $5 million. A Wednesday breakfast in Los Angeles will raise $3 million, the official said.
Trump is expected to raise $3 million at a private lunch in San Francisco. He will travel to San Diego Wednesday, and he is expected to raise $4 million at a luncheon there, according to the Republican official.
Although specific details of presidential travels are never made public in advance, motorists in the downtown, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles and Beverly Hills areas can anticipate rolling street and freeway closures as Trump is driven to and from the event.
Air Force One is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport, according to the Trump's schedule released by the White House. Trump is scheduled to head to downtown Los Angeles via helicopter and later take a helicopter to Santa Monica Municipal Airport. He will travel by motorcade to the fundraiser in Beverly Hills.
Refuse Fascism, which seeks to remove what it calls the “Trump/Pence regime” power, is scheduled to conduct a protest at the corner of Benedict Canyon Drive and Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills beginning at 3 p.m.
With California considered a major Democrat stronghold, Trump visits to the state are rare. He attended a Beverly Hills fundraiser and had a private dinner at his Rancho Palos Verdes golf club on April 5 -- a visit that lasted about six hours.
In November, Trump toured areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties damaged by the Woolsey Fire. He attended another Beverly Hills fundraiser in March 2018.
At the same stage of his presidency, Barack Obama had made six visits to the Los Angeles area. Four were exclusively for political fundraising and a fifth was to campaign on behalf of Democratic candidates.
Democratic presidential hopeful and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke will also be in the Los Angeles area Tuesday. He is scheduled to visit the Downtown Women's Center on skid row, then take part in an “equity and justice roundtable with Equity First Alliance and Cage-Free Cannabis -- organizations focused on repairing the harms of the War on Drugs,” according to his campaign. The roundtable discussion will be held at the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre.
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